As the number of fuel cell vehicles are expected to increase, the requirement for skilled labour within the fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) area are needed. A new project, financed by the European programme Erasmus+, will gather experience and knowledge from three European countries and develop a training programme for technicians of FCH vehicles.

With the need to reduce fossil fuels in the transport sector, fuel cells and hydrogen technologies hold great promise for transport applications. The implementation of fuel cells in especially public transportation can supplement a significant portion of fossil fuel use and contribute to reduce local emissions to zero.

Fuel cells are currently capable of replacing internal combustion engines in vehicles (buses, cars, trucks), and it is expected that the number of hydrogen vehicles will continue to rise. Meanwhile the increasing demand for skilled labour in this field contrasts with the lack of education provided for the technicians. This highlights the need for transferable skills, and a common training approach for the FCH sector. Hence, the education and training within the fuel cells and hydrogen sector is critical for the future workforce, and for the roll-out of more FCH vehicles.

Ballard Power Systems Europe (Denmark), Van Hool (Belgium), Aberdeen City Council (United Kingdom), Mercantec (Denmark) and CEMTEC/Hydrogen Valley (Denmark) have entered into a project agreement to develop a training program for FCH technicians.

Advancing the education for FCH technicians

The project – named FCH Train, short for “training for technicians of FCH vehicles” – will gather experience from Denmark, Belgium and Scotland (each of them owning an area of excellence in the fuel cell and hydrogen technology), and convert it in to a new training and education program for FCH technicians. Thus, it has become fundamental to share European knowledge and experiences to participate in the creation of an appropriate training program.

The project will include two training sessions. The first session will be conducted by Van Hool in Belgium, who are a leading manufacturer of fuel cell buses and has an extensive experience with operation of the buses around the globe. The second training session will be organized by Mercantec in Denmark.

When the content and extent of the new training program is determined, it will firstly be tested in Denmark at the Auto Technical Center (ATC), which is part of the vocational and education and training (VET) school, Mercantec in Viborg.

John Hansen, who is Manager of Education and Information Technology at Mercantec says:

“Mercantec has an extensive experience with developing and delivering highly technical courses to professionals from the automotive business. It therefore provides us with great pleasure that we, through the project collaboration FCH Train, will be able to introduce a course for technicians of hydrogen vehicles. This will not only lead to rise in jobs within the sector but also help to support the commercialization of the technology”.

The training programme will be accredited and implemented in the public educational system in Denmark and Scotland, as the first European countries to offer basic education in fuel cells and hydrogen vehicles. The courses will be open for both national and international students.

By adding new and innovative content and elements to the education for future FCH technicians, the ambition is that the project will contribute to the further strengthening of key competences within the field of hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles.

Alternative fuels for the transport sector

The EU has made a commitment to a forward-looking climate policy with energy security and independence as some of the prioritized dimensions. Clean and energy efficient vehicles have an important role to play in achieving EU policy objectives of reducing energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant emissions. Hydrogen power fuel cell vehicles are seen as key enablers as they are highly-efficient, emits no CO2 and can be powered by hydrogen produced from renewable energy such as wind energy.

The project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

For more information about the FCH Train project please contact Project Manager, Daniela Laursen from Ballard Power Systems Europe at dla@ballardeurope.com

Read the press release Press release FCH Train

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